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Author Drescher, Seymour.
Title The mighty experiment : free labor versus slavery in British emancipation / Seymour Drescher.
Imprint Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.

Author Drescher, Seymour.
Subject Antislavery movements -- Great Britain.
Slavery -- Economic aspects -- Great Britain.
Slaves -- Emancipation -- Economic aspects -- Great Britain.
Social sciences and history -- Great Britain.
Description 1 online resource (vi, 307 pages)
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 287-298) and index.
Summary By the third quarter of the eighteenth century, Great Britain had amassed Europe's largest imperial stake in the transatlantic slave system. During the next three generations the British dismantled that stake in a graduated series of withdrawals. This process has been portrayed, on the one hand, as a rational disinvestment in a foundering overseas system by the world's greatest and most dynamic economic power. On the other hand, it has been assessed as the world's most expensive per capita overseas investment in modern history. In this latter perspective, British anti-slavery was the the crucial element in the greatest humanitarian achievement of all time. For those who actually planned, debated, implemented, and adjusted to the process, ending British slavery was best conceived neither as a timely withdrawal from a failed economy nor an unprecedented national sacrifice. Properly done, it was to be a rational social experiment. Emancipation was designed to simultaneously minimize agitation on both sides of the Atlantic, and to maximize the scientifically proven superiority of free over slave labor.; It would thereby not only benefit planters, consumers, and capitalists within the empire, but also accelerate the peaceful and voluntary surrender of millions of chattels throughout the world. The implementation and evaluation of emancipation turned out to be a far more contentious affair than the originators had anticipated. It absorbed minds of a whole generation of parliamentarians, governments, and journalists. The origin, execution, and public assessment of this great experiment, in its own contemporary terms, is the subject of this study.
Contents Contents; Introduction; 1. Modern Slavery and Modern Freedom; 2. The Free Labor Ideology: Adam Smith; 3. From Production to Reproduction: The Population Principle; 4. Adam Smith's Epigone and the Retreat from the Free Labor Ideology; 5. Heredity, Environment, and Change; 6. Sierra Leone and Haiti: Emancipation as an Experimental Science; 7. Experimental Alternatives to Slavery, 1791-1833; 8. The Mighty Experiment; 9. Expanding the Experiment; 10. The Experiment Eroded; 11. The Experiment in Crisis: Sugar, Slaves, and Cotton; 12. An Experiment Abandoned; 13. Some Lessons; Notes.
Selected BibliographyIndex; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; Q; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y.
Note Print version record.
ISBN 9780198025368 (electronic bk.)
019802536X (electronic bk.)
0195093461 (Cloth)
OCLC # 252594750
Additional Format Print version: Drescher, Seymour. Mighty experiment. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002 (DLC) 2001036288

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